Have you seen what's on the horizon for Canon in 2021? Wow. After a number of comparatively lackluster years, Canon roared back to life in 2020 with the announcement of a few new cameras and a bunch of new lenses. However, there's a glaring issue that needs to be urgently addressed or it will all be rather meaningless.
With rumors of Canon's 2021 roadmap reported on recently, it seems the camera giant is not resting on its 2020 laurels and has big plans for next year too, with more RF lenses reportedly coming onto the market. These are seemingly great times for Canon users, and it looks like the good times will just continue.
However, there’s a big elephant in the room that no one seems to want acknowledge, and it will render all these lens announcements utterly meaningless for many unless it’s fixed as soon as possible. What am I talking about? The simple fact that there are scores of people around the world twiddling their thumbs while waiting for delivery of their the Canon EOS R5s. Including me. It’s all well and good to have a wonderful roadmap of lenses ahead, but if there’s nothing to attach those lenses to, then it’s all rather moot for those waiting, isn’t it?
When I ordered my EOS R5 at the back end of July, I fully expected delays. I wasn’t under the naive impression that I would be first cab off the rank and have the Canon in my hands within a week or two. However, we are now in mid-October, and I have absolutely no idea when my camera will get here. Initially, I was kept in the loop by the vendor, but in the last month and a half or so, I haven’t heard a squeak. I don’t really blame the vendor, because they simply pass on the news they get from Canon. So, really, I think Canon has shot themselves in the foot here and taken on orders that they couldn’t keep pace with.
If you take a look at some of the biggest camera-selling websites in the world online, they tell the same story across the board.
This image above is from B&H Photo Video, which says the camera is backordered. Likewise, Diamonds camera in Australia, which you can see in the image below.
In Japan, Map Camera, one of the biggest camera vendors based in Tokyo, also has the same message, seen below.
So, this isn’t an isolated instance where I might have chosen the wrong vendor. This is a common issue around the world where people have ordered the EOS R5 and are no nearer to getting it than they were three months ago. As a result, it’s a fat lot of good hearing about Canon's exciting new lens roadmap for 2021 if we can’t do anything with them, isn’t it?
Unfortunately, the RF lenses cannot be used on an EF mount body. Thus, people who own the Canon 5D Mark IV, for example, cannot do anything with RF lenses that have been announced or RF lenses they might already have. I’m a perfect example of this scenario. When I made the order for the Canon EOS R5, I also ordered the RF 100-500mm lens and the RF 800mm lens at the same time. They both arrived after a small delay and now sit in a box in my bedroom. Literally.
I’m not in the habit of falling all over gear that I can’t use, so after unpacking the two lenses and giving them the once over, I put them straight back in the box, where they’ve remained ever since. The RF 100-500mm may well be the best lens I have ever owned, but it’s currently collecting dust. In a box. On the floor. And with no adapter that allows me to put those RF lenses onto my 5D Mark IV or 7D Mark II, I actually have no idea how they perform or what wonders they might produce. Wonderful, huh? And worst of all, I have no idea when this might change.
Initially, I felt that I couldn't show such an unglamorous image here on Fstoppers, but I think it illustrates my point perfectly. My two RF lenses have been relegated to the corner of the room where they compete for dust and space with frames I use for orders, a screwdriver, my old waterhousing, and other bits and bobs. They should be taking pride and place in my camera bag, but alas, they're not and won't be for quite a while, I imagine.
2020 has certainly been a strange year, to state the obvious, and you might assign the chaos of the year as one of the reasons for such a delay in people getting their EOS R5s in their hands. I don’t buy that excuse for a second. COVID-19 started in the early part of 2020, around about the same time that rumors of the EOS R5 started filtering out. The news got louder as the middle of the year approached, and then, it was confirmed that the EOS R5 and EOS R6 would be released in July/August. Thus, if Canon had any doubts about releasing the EOS R5/R6 because of the effects of the pandemic, it had ample time to make alternative arrangements. It chose not to.
Indeed, if you look at Canon Australia’s channel on YouTube, there was a blitz of promotional videos released at the same time as the EOS R5 (as you’d expect). Almost every day, my feed was cluttered with reviews and impressions and comparisons of the EOS R5, so Canon obviously had no doubts about getting the camera out for sale and was busy with its mass marketing.
And that feeds into my next point. I find it hard to believe that Canon was simply overwhelmed by the demand for the EOS R5 and was caught short on numbers because of such a surprise. Rumors of the camera started early in the year and simply snowballed into a giant avalanche by the time it was released in August. Everyone knew it was coming, and the internet was abuzz at what it would produce. Therefore, it’s a stretch to imagine that Canon just made a mistake and underestimated how many units it might need for shipment. And here we are now in the middle of October and people are still no closer to getting any answers about when their cameras might come.
On paper, 2021 looks extremely exciting for Canon and its loyal users. A bunch of new RF lenses are in the pipeline, which promise even more features and benefits than ever. However, no EOS R5s in the hands of many after three months of waiting is an issue that needs immediate redress. It’s rather pointless, and even a slap in the face to potentially announce all these new lenses when the body you need to attach them to is in some black hole vortex devoid of information or answers. I certainly hope Canon gets cracking and starts a new shipment batch as soon as possible. Patience is starting to wear thin for many — well, me at least! What do you think? Has Canon kicked an own goal here or will this all blow over before we know it?